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 Life as a Control Room Inspector...


From firearms tactics to granting authority for high-speed pursuits, life as a Control Room Inspector is always busy.

Today, Inspector Kev Salter has the task of overseeing all the incidents which come into the control room: No mean feat.

In front of him are a list of unfolding jobs which his team of call handlers have flagged up for his attention. These are often the most serious of incidents involving assaults, firearms or those which are intelligence-led. Most of the incidents on his screen are ‘Missing From Homes’ and he will monitor each investigation, set tasks and provide continuity with an extensive handover.

As he clicks to open a job to look at the full details, a computer screen to his right shows the exact location of where the incident is as well as where the nearest officers are. The sophisticated vehicle tracking system updates a cop’s position every couple of seconds so he is constantly aware of the latest information, making him best placed to make important decisions. As he adds his advice to each incident for his ‘dispatchers’, the people who liaise with officers over their radios, he also keeps an eye on the TV screen above him which shows the number of 999 calls coming in. At the moment, the screen is illuminated yellow, however if a 999 call is not answered within 5 seconds, it will turn to red and that is when Insp Salter must leap into action to make sure it is responded to as soon as possible.

“My day-to-day job involves assessing threat and risk. That means deciding on what response to send to an incident, our strategy and then I will brief officers with specific instructions,” he said. “If an incident such as a pursuit unfolds, then it is up to the specially trained driver to paint a picture of the developing situation so I can assess the dangers and instruct officers on tactics such as whether to deploy a stringer. If the police helicopter is involved, then they provide me with a downlink so I can watch what is happening live from the air.

“It is intense. It is high pressured, but we work as a team to get us through. We go home at the end of our shift and hug our kids a little tighter, knowing what we’ve dealt with throughout the day.”